Although Jesus demonstrated agape love to everyone, He feels philia for the Church, those who have put their faith in Him for salvation and surrendered their lives to follow Him.
Philia is affectionate friendship with those who share similar goals and values formed through common experience.
During His life on earth, Jesus felt philia for his disciples and for everyone who sought to please God, as God’s glory was His number one goal, and people who head toward the same goal share not only common motivation, but similar experiences, good and bad. Even now, Jesus feels philia for those who love God and obey Him. Christians know Him not only as Savior, but also as friend, one that understands both their hearts’ desires and their struggles.
Now, all husbands and wives have the opportunity to share philia in one form or another, as marriage requires couples to “do life” together, side by side, as they cooperate to build a family and establish a legacy, whether or not they have children.
However, husbands and wives who are also brothers and sisters in Christ have the opportunity to share philia love. As their mutual goal is God’s glory, when things get tough or they can’t see eye to eye on temporal or personal matters, they are able to put those things aside and focus on that greater goal. This ability to step outside of themselves and their relationship and view things from God’s eternal perspective gives their relationship meaning beyond their mutual benefit and makes it easier for them to find inspiration, contentment, and joy in their marriage even when their flesh tells them to be lazy or selfish.
Because human passion waxes and wanes and circumstances sometimes make it difficult to serve your wife to the extent you would like, be sure to invest in the friendship you share with your wife. Become a team in setting family goals and determining what kind of legacy you want to leave. If your wife is a Christian, go one step further and become a team in figuring out how to use your marriage to glorify God, so when you don’t feel like trying for yourselves, you will still try for Him.
Read Philippians 1:8, 1 Peter 1:22, and 1 Peter 3:7-9.